Abstract: Understanding the Effects of Workforce Diversity on Turnover Intention in a Perceived Homogeneous Culture (Society for Social Work and Research 26th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Racial, Social, and Political Justice)

Understanding the Effects of Workforce Diversity on Turnover Intention in a Perceived Homogeneous Culture

Saturday, January 15, 2022
Liberty Ballroom J, ML 4 (Marriott Marquis Washington, DC)
* noted as presenting author
Sang Mi Cho, PhD, Professor, Ewha Womans University, Korea, Republic of (South)
Soyoung An, Ph.D. Candidate, Ewha Womans University
Johyeon Yoon, Master course, Ewha womans university
Background/Purpose: Workforce diversity is on the rise worldwide, and since the 1990s, Korea has also been rapidly growing in visible diversity. But there is tendency to be secretive regarding organizational invisible diversity issues. Workforce diversity is important for influencing employees’ perceptions and attitudes, including organizational commitment, organizational satisfaction, and turnover intention. Thus, this study aims to a) identify the characteristics of diversity that affect the perceptions of inclusion, diversity climate, and turnover; b) examine the mediating effects of inclusion and diversity climate in the relationship between workforce diversity and turnover intentions; and c) investigate a moderating effect of diversity climate between inclusion and turnover intention.

Methods: A purposive convenience sampling method was used in this study, and Korea was selected as an example of a homogenous society. A large corporation was selected as the environment for examining the effects of diversity characteristics. Company A is a global company that manufactures high-tech products; it has two merger and acquisition (M&A) experiences in Korea. A questionnaire was distributed to all 14,000 employees via online intranet, and data from 15.4% (2,153 employees) were used in the study. In the research model, diversity characteristics were independent variables, perceptions of inclusion and diversity climate were mediating variables, and diversity climate was a moderating variable. To test the model, a structural equation analysis using Mplus 7.0 was utilized.

Results: The main findings of this study are as follows. First, married women and men in their 30s, as well as employees in marketing with longer tenures, felt less mainstream in the corporate environment through positive perceptions regarding inclusion or diversity climate. Second, the mediating effects of inclusion and diversity climate were revealed in workforce diversity, such as gender, age, department, and tenure, with no direct impacts on turnover intention. Third, diversity climate had a moderating effect between inclusion and turnover intention. Therefore, turnover intention can be reduced for non-mainstream groups that feel discriminated against and excluded if a positive diversity climate is established in the organization.

Conclusions and Implications: Based on our findings, we provide the following recommendations. First, as a major element in workforce diversity, marriage was explored in both men and women. The implementation strategy of the work–family balance policy should be applicable to men as well as women for greater perceptions of inclusion. Second, by highlighting the importance of inclusive and supportive work environments, the results suggest that corporate leadership must pay attention to and motivate employees who perceive themselves as non-mainstream. Third, study findings point to the significance of diversity climate, which promotes the perception of inclusion and a positive attitude among employees. Therefore, diversity-friendly human resource management policies and practices, such as recruitment, promotion, evaluation, education, and training, should be established.